Approx time to read: 3 minutes
Key Take Aways:
- An effective marketing plan provides a roadmap for all your marketing activities including timelines, who’s responsible, budget and measures of success
- A marketing plan makes you proactive instead of reactive, saves time and stress and improves decision making
- A marketing plan is NOT set and forget – you need to implement it consistently, review it regularly, and adjust as necessary
Are you overwhelmed with trying to market your business and just don’t know where to start?
Being business owners, we all wear a ‘number of hats’ from product or service developers to accountants, computer experts and marketers. It’s understandable why you might find it a challenge to find the time to market your business effectively or just totally overwhelmed with it all. Plus, many of us just don’t have huge amounts of money spare to throw into our marketing budget.
To utilise your marketing spend and time effectively a consistent and proactive approach to your marketing is necessary. Yet so many business owners choose to jump straight into action (i.e. creating a website, posting on social media etc.) without a plan in place and wonder why they are not getting that return on investment. Creating a marketing plan for your business will help you to align your business and marketing goals to achieve growth and keep you on track to get your marketing tasks done.
What is a marketing plan?
A marketing plan is essentially a roadmap of all your proposed marketing activities for your overall marketing strategy. A good plan breaks the activities into manageable tasks, allocates who is responsible to complete each task, identifies whether other resources are required, sets deadlines and provides estimated costs / budget for each task. Each activity is also allocated a success measure – a quantifiable indicator that needs to be met for the activity to be successful.
Why is having a plan so important?
How would you decide to pursue new prospects and how would your activities fit in with other external marketing opportunities?
Be proactive not reactive. A proactive approach can put you ahead of your competition. Without a marketing plan you end up with inconsistent marketing, less time to run your business and unnecessary stress and disappointing results. A marketing plan allows you to understand lead times for certain marketing activities such as events, sponsorship deals or renewals and advertisements. It also helps you to make decisions on whether to pursue new prospects and understand how your marketing activities fit in with other external opportunities.
Depending on your product or service offering and your target audience you may look at when major events and celebration days are in Australia and run a specific campaign before or around those days.
How do I make my plan happen?
Once you have created a marketing plan you can see what activities are more of a priority than others. Start to include the marketing activities into your weekly or monthly planner/calendar or whatever way suits you and your business. You will find if you schedule the activities into your time you are more likely to complete them. This will also ensure you give yourself efficient lead times.
A plan still needs to work within your availability and budget. Why not start with a simple action plan and focus on a small number of marketing activities that you can really do well. If you create a huge plan that is simply too big for you to implement you will spread yourself to thin and end up not getting the results you want or overspend your marketing budget.
It’s all about consistency
I’m sure we have all done it as business owners – put the plan in the cupboard and not looked at it ever again. A marketing plan is a working document and needs to be continually reviewed and adjusted. Timeframes may change or an activity just isn’t working as well as you thought, or something is working well so you may choose to investigate why and use it again or do more of it.
For a marketing plan to be successful it needs to be consistent. Continually reviewing and updating your plan when required will keep you on track with your marketing activities and budget and more importantly reaching those business and marketing goals.